Continuous Assessment as a Tool for a Quality Curriculum

Topics: Secondary education, High school, Education Pages: 315 (93914 words) Published: April 5, 2011
University College Dublin

School of Education and Lifelong Learning

A Formative Evaluation of the Implementation of the Continuous Assessment Pilot Programme (CAPP) at the Basic School Level in Zambia.

William M. Kapambwe

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Masters of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed) Degree

September, 2006

Head of School: Professor Sheelagh Drudy
Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Marie Clarke


The Ministry of Education (MOE) in Zambia has long realised that reform of the examinations system is one single intervention that has a greater impact for the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning in classroom. Many of the of the MOE policy documents have had proposals for the reduction on the emphasis of the high stakes examinations and the introduction of the continuous assessment as a component of the students’ final results, together with the external examinations (MOE, 1996;MOE, 1992;MOE, 1977).

The Continuous Assessment Pilot Programme hereafter called (CAPP) is a response to previous proposal guidelines by the MOE to introduce the use of the CA results with the final examinations in the high stakes examinations at the grade seven level. The preparatory work for the implementation of the programme began in earnest in November 2004 and the implementation in the pilot schools commenced in January 2006.

This thesis deals with the formative evaluation study of the implementation of the CAPP that was conducted between 6th June, 2006 and 6th July 2006 in seven of the eighteen pilot districts of the programme. The purpose of the study was to find out how well the stakeholders understood the objectives of the CAPP and to discover what factors influenced the successful or unsuccessful implementation of the programme.

Chapter one sets the contextual background in which the Zambian education system has been developed and brings out the main issues and problems that have influences educational developments with special focus on the teaching and learning processes in the classroom. The second chapter discusses different types of assessment and their influence on the teaching and learning process. Chapter three provides a review of the various models of curriculum evaluation with a view a view to considering their appropriateness to in the research design for the study. In the fourth chapter, an examination of the various models of curriculum implementation are presented and it is argued that for successful implementation of the curriculum, it is necessary to adopt a model that helps to close that gap between the ideals of the national planners and the realities of the work of the classroom teachers. Chapter five describes the research design and methodology that was used to conduct the formative evaluation study in an objective, reliable and valid way. Chapters six, seven and eight present the findings from the developers, teachers and implementers respectively. Chapter nine presents the conclusions and recommendations.

The study collected data from three categories of respondents. The first category was referred to as the developers and consisted of ten MOE officers in Lusaka. The second category was called the implementers and involved twenty-one officers consisting of head teachers, guidance teachers, SIPs, and other MOE officers such as DRCCs, DESOs and ESO-Gs. The third categories were the twenty grade five-class teachers. The study’s was based on the pilot schools in seven of the eighteen pilot districts namely, Lusaka, Kafue, Livingstone, Monze, Luangwa, Sesheke and Kazungula. The study adopted the mixed method approach employing self-administered questionnaires and semi-structured interviews.

The findings of the study revealed that all the stakeholders had a good understanding of the objectives for introducing the continuous assessment in the schools. The study further revealed that all the stakeholders appreciated the usefulness of the continuous...
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